Disabled students at private colleges seem to be able to access Government-funded supports after a change in policy.
Follows up debate after parent and disability advocate Tom Clonan He said he refused to consider such support on the grounds that his son went to a private college.
Mr. Clonan said his son Eoghan (19), who has a rare illness that has confined him to a wheelchair and impairs his vision, has received an offer for a third level course. Dublin Business School (DBS) through the CAO system.
Mr. Clonan said he was told that his son was not eligible for disability benefits because DBS was not a publicly funded institution.
After Mr Clonan highlighted the issue on Twitter on Tuesday, the Minister of Higher Education Simon Harris contacted him and a change in policy was announced on Wednesday. A Ministry of Higher Education spokesperson confirmed that this is working with the institution. Higher Education Institution “Assessment of the issues raised regarding the Student with Disabilities Fund and how it can be expanded and developed.”
Mr. Clonan said he was pleased that his son and other disabled people were able to benefit.
“Eoghan has a neuromuscular disability and has partial vision… he had to struggle to get to this point, and we were thrilled when he was offered the liberal arts at DBS that he loved,” said Mr. Clonan.
“She needs a printer, a personal assistant, and assistive technology so she can go to college, eat, and go to the bathroom… we were heartbroken when we were told she wasn’t available at the institution.”
“We received confirmation today that Eoghan will receive supports. All students in his situation will receive these supports. We are satisfied,” he said.
“It’s been a roller coaster. I think this sends a strong signal that we shouldn’t exclude people with disabilities from level three. This is a human rights issue.”